Ecuador and US Fake Peacefulness
Nil Nikandrov - http://www.strategic-culture.org
I decided not to waste time and watched a few YouTube video clips devoted to the activities of US embassy in Ecuador. According to diplomats, Washington’s «anger» with the Ecuador’s government led by Rafael Correa has not lasted long after US Ambassador Heather Hodges was declared «persona non grata» in April. The Americans make a point of displaying effectiveness and disinterestedness of the ongoing bilateral cooperation to Ecuadorian authorities. The ubiquitous US diplomats are involved in each and every kind of activities: the funds allocated to fight AIDS, the creation of military infrastructure near Columbia, taking care of the Galapagos Islands rare and intriguing wildlife, making a list of Fulbright award winners and so on, the list can be continued.
Speaking on TV, the US Ambassador to Ecuador Adam Namm and Ronald Packowtz, US consul, Guayaquil revealingly pointed out the USA was interested in the progress of democracy and ready to cooperate with political parties and civil society. They emphasized that the CIA was not involved in any subversive activities in the country; the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is involved only in the activities it is destined for and nothing else. The diplomats constantly repeat that around 2 million Ecuadorians live in the USA and 30 thousand US citizens, mainly pensioners, reside in Ecuador. At least 250 thousand US tourists visit the country yearly. The United States exports to Ecuador total almost $6-7 billion annually, while U.S. imports from Ecuador are more than $10 billion. The US representatives stress the fact of close and intensive economic cooperation; any destabilization will painfully hurt Ecuador and its citizens.
Ecuador’s government expelled the United States ambassador, Heather M. Hodges, over comments made public in a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks in which Ms. Hodges referred to high-level government and police corruption in Ecuador and possible knowledge of it by the president. Allegedly President Correa did it so to make it easier to manipulate those in the assigned positions. One can imagine the reaction of Correa whom they tried to portrait as a minor, mean Machiavelli living in tropics. Of course, Hodges couldn’t imagine the reports she had written confidently would ever surface and be made public. Washington views Rafael Vicente Correa as an «unfriendly» politician. The reason for it lies on the surface. For the first time in many dozens of years an independent, resolute, patriotic minded president with first rate education rules Ecuador. No way one can pull the wool over his eyes telling stories praising the neo-liberal pattern of development as the best and irreplaceable, imposing the views that the free market under the US aegis is the best thing that has no alternative, the socialist choice has no prospects for future, the preservation of Pentagon’s presence is necessary…
Washington surreptitiously spreads around the idea of the Ecuadorian President being unacceptable. Let it be anyone else but not him! The State Department and special services Correa as a probable political and ideological successor of Venezuelan President Chavez on the continent.
Ambassador Adam Namm knows well Correa is leaving his opponents far behind in the ongoing pre-election race. According to recent polls he is leading 61-61 %. It is widely accepted Correa has a chance to win in the first round. It means the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Spanish: Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América), or ALBA will strengthen and continue to resist the imperial policies of Washington. Gloom reigns in right wing conservative media: there is no intrigue in the campaign preceding the elections slated for February 17. Yet, the opposition may brace for a fight over the National Assembly seats, governors positions and the representation in the Andes parliament. That’s what the State Department and US special services appear to rely on.
No matter there have been conflicts with authorities in the past, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and defense attach office (up to 50 intelligence personnel) preserve their presence in the country. The DEA officials do their best to use the tried and true tactics to involve government officials, military, police officers and even diplomats into drug trafficking to discredit the Correa’s regime (like it happened in the recent «valise case»). US diplomats from Defense Department recruit moles for future actions mainly by offering material incentives. No doubt the Pentagon instructors have achieved great results in «brain washing» of local population, as well as teaching the art of «third degree» interrogation. What Ecuador doesn’t need for sure is this kind of defense experts, the potential conspirators. That’s the reason why President Correa took a decision to end the training of Ecuadorian military personnel at US military schools. He finds ALBA training facilities more appropriate for the purpose. The President suggested that the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) should have a military academy of its own «based on the principles of human rights, honor and sovereignty where cadets would be taught military disciplines instead of police officer skills (to meet the repressive goals of the USA»).
The Pentagon’s efforts aimed at Latin America’s militarization are viewed by Ecuadorian government as a threat to sovereignty and independence of the region’s countries. Amanda Dávila, the communication minister of Ecuador, has recently strongly condemned the act of illegal penetration by a group of US military into the national territory under the pretext of «medical experiments.» There is no difference between the regimes of Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador for US Southern Command, but, as a rule, it does differentiate them while making public statements. General Douglas Fraser, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, has said the United States had very good military ties with Ecuador as well as with other Latin America’s countries, excluding Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia (that is the core members of ALBA). This approach should alert the government of Ecuador. What is Washington up to?
The main thing is to preserve substantial US military presence in the country. Hundreds of officers served their terms in Ecuador getting introduced to the potential theater of war. The substantial number of diplomats and advisers alleviates greatly the activities of human intelligence inside the Ecuador’s armed forces. The Ecuador’s counterintelligence is not strong enough to keep under surveillance all the US defense intelligence officers operating in the country. President Correa and his inner circle know well what threats may arise and try to observe political correctness. Former defense minister Javier Ponce defined the Ecuador’s approach to the problem. According to him, Ecuador had normal ties with the US Southern Command. It means SOUTHCOM actions in the northern part of the country (the border with Columbia) are accepted without any additional strings attached. Ecuador will not agree with disproportionate and intrusive US presence in the border area. The country will manage to train personnel in military intelligence and illegal armed formations counteraction operations without US assistance. Ecuador relies on Spain, Chile, Argentina or Russia for enhancing security capabilities.
Guatemalan writer Francisco Alvarado Godoy says Ecuador and its peaceful citizen's revolution» project are under threat. In his article about the CIA plans against President Correa he adduces multiple facts confirming the fact that there are plans in the works aimed at destabilization by igniting internal conflicts. The parties that have no hope for success at the elections and various non-government agencies are to be used for waging a hostile anti-government propaganda campaign against Correa and the ruling left-wing movement Alianza Pais. Actually all the Correa’s opponents get financial support from US funds, for instance: former banker Guillermo Lasso, banana king Alvaro Noboa, Lucio Gutierrez called Ecuador’s Chavez at the start of political career. But he preferred the disgraceful role of CIA agent, a disseminator of libelous fakes about Correa and other ALBA leaders.
Alvaro Godoy affirms the US embassy and Ambassador’s residence are used as operational control centers to destabilize Ecuador before the elections. That’s where instructions for controlled candidates come from. They teach dirty propaganda tricks and tell how to intensify attacks against the National Electoral Council (CNE). They accusations voiced against the Council are the same: the election results could be rigged into the Correa’s favor. He is accused of putting under control all the administrative bodies and imitating Chavez. So the voters should wake up and make the right choice, because Ecuador is on the verge of becoming a dictatorship.
The CNE chairman Domingo Paredes has voiced alarm: the chief government body responsible for elections is under targeted attack aimed at destabilization of the legal electoral process. According to Paredes, some political organizations and personalities plan to create structures in parallel to National Electoral Council. Their main task is to provide evidence of rigged elections. The very same methods to frustrate and discredit elections have been used by the US intelligence operatives in Bolivia, Nicaragua and especially Venezuela. Ecuador is next.
Ambassador Namm and his team of provocateurs may be in the midst of events. Domingo Paredes has not called the names of those who are behind the attempted subversive actions aimed at frustration of the elections. But Ecuador is not kind of a puppet on a string. Namm should be ready for unexpected turn of events.